Ford Asks Dealers to Pause EV Investments Amid Model e Program Revamp

Ford has asked its dealerships to temporarily halt investments related to its electric vehicle (EV) certification program. This decision comes as Ford reassesses the Model e Certified Program’s requirements and makes changes based on feedback from its dealer network.

During a recent series of nationwide meetings with dealers, Ford gathered extensive feedback to inform the upcoming adjustments to the certification program. The meetings, attended by Ford CEO Jim Farley and other top executives, were part of what the company dubbed the “Dealer Engagement Tour.”

“We don’t want them to make any decisions between now and the middle of June, when you can maybe have a more informed decision-making process based off what we work out with council in the next few weeks,” stated Andrew Frick, President of Ford Blue, in an interview with Automotive News.

The discussions during the tour focused on the challenges and opportunities within the EV market. Topics ranged from investment requirements for EV infrastructure to broader strategic issues like simplifying operations and enhancing customer experiences. According to Frick, there was a notable consensus among executives and dealers on the path forward. “I think we’re both pretty aligned on the process based on what we heard,” he said. “I expect to see some changes coming out of it.”

Ford’s decision to pause the certification program investments is also influenced by the financial performance of its EV division. The company reported a significant loss of over $100,000 per EV sold in the first quarter of this year and projects a loss of up to $5.5 billion for its EV business unit in 2024.

In November, Ford had already adjusted the program’s requirements, reducing the number of Level 2 chargers needed for certification and eliminating the Level 3 fast charger requirement. Despite these changes, the slow growth in Ford’s EV sales, driven by affordability issues and other challenges, has prompted another round of reevaluation by the Detroit-based automaker.

The company’s efforts to improve communication and trust levels among its dealer network appear to be paying off. An internal survey revealed that 93 percent of dealers who participated in the recent meetings felt more confident in Ford’s direction.

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